Ford and Mazda go sep­a­rate ways

The Tribune (NZ) - - MIDWEEK MOTORING -

The days of the Mazda BT-50 and Ford Ranger shar­ing their un­der­pin­nings are com­ing to an end, sig­nalling the end of the long, drawn-out separation of Mazda and Ford once and for all.

The Ja­panese com­pany has an­nounced that it will be team­ing up with Isuzu for its next ute. The very short state­ment only con­firmed the deal and gave no details of the ve­hi­cle it­self.

The tie-up is de­scribed as a man­u­fac­turer ‘‘sup­ply agree­ment’’ rather than a part­ner­ship. It also spec­i­fies that the deal is for the en­tire world, apart from the US.

Ford sold its 35 per cent stake in Mazda in 2010, which led the Ja­panese brand to seek out part­ner­ships with the likes of Fiat Chrysler, which con­trib­uted to the de­vel­op­ment of the MX-5.

86 DOL­LARS: Toy­ota New Zea- land has an­nounced that it will be putting up a prize fund of $100,000 for its TR 86 Cham­pi­onship one­make se­ries for the 86 sports car, mak­ing it the biggest purse in the 2016-17 mo­tor­sport sea­son. Con­firm­ing the fund at the re­cent CRC Speed­show, Toy­ota New Zealand mo­tor­sport man­ager Steve Boyce said the run­away suc­cess of the cham­pi­onship is proof that it’s ful­fill­ing its role: to help young driv­ers hone their rac­ing skills and achieve their mo­tor rac­ing goals. ‘‘The cham­pi­onship has been a tremen­dous prov­ing ground for Kiwi race driv­ers and is go­ing from strength to strength. With very strong lo­cal and overseas in­ter­est in the com­ing cham­pi­onship we are proud to ex­tend our sup­port with this new prize struc­ture,’’ he said.

X3 POWER: BMW has given its range of medium SUVs a mid-life re­fresh, while also mak­ing a new vari­ant avail­able in the New Zealand mar­ket. While the ex­ist­ing X3 and X4 mod­els all get in­creases in equip­ment and a mild ex­te­rior tweak, the biggest news is the in­tro­duc­tion of the 180kW/350Nm 2.0-litre turbo-petrol en­gine in the new X3 xDrive28iMS­port model. The X3 xDrive28i will sprint from a stand­still to 100kmh in 6.5 sec­onds. It con­sumes 7.3 litres/ 100km while emit­ting 169 g/km of CO2. Power is de­liv­ered to the road via an eight-speed ‘sport’ au­to­matic trans­mis­sion. The BMW X3 xDrive28i M Sport is on sale now with a rec­om­mended re­tail price of $97,500.

VEC­TOR TALK: Mazda has un­veiled the first of its Sky­Ac­tiv ve­hi­cle dy­nam­ics tech­nolo­gies, with the ad­di­tion of the G-Vec­tor­ing Con­trol (GVC) sys­tem to the Mazda3 in Ja­pan. Mazda says the Sky­Ac­tiv-ve­hi­cle dy­nam­ics tech­nolo­gies ‘‘pro­vide in­te­grated con­trol of the en­gine, trans­mis­sion, chas­sis and body to en­hance the car’s Jinba-it­tai feel – a sense of one­ness be­tween car and driver.’’ The GVC varies en­gine torque in re­sponse to steer­ing in­put, in or­der to en­hance the ver­ti­cal load on each wheel for smooth and ef­fi­cient ve­hi­cle mo­tion. This brings the move­ment of the car more in line with the driver’s in­ten­tions, re­duc­ing the need for steer­ing cor­rec­tions. Mazda says the sys­tems’s changes in ac­cel­er­a­tion forces are smoother, which re­duces oc­cu­pant sway and makes for a more com­fort­able ride as well as im­prov­ing han­dling and sta­bil­ity on wet, snowy and un­paved roads.

SVO GROWS: Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) plans to ex­pand its Spe­cial Ve­hi­cle Oper­a­tions (SVO) di­vi­sion, as part of a ma­jor in­vest­ment in new head­quar­ters for both SVO and JLR Clas­sic. SVO was launched in 2014 and stands as the de­vel­op­ment cen­tre for JLR’s ‘halo’ spe­cial­ist mod­els. SVO prod­ucts in­clude the F-Type Project 7, F-Type SVR, Range Rover Sport SVR and the flag­ship Range Rover SVAu­to­bi­og­ra­phy. Sales of SVO ve­hi­cles al­ready to­tal 3600 per year.

The Mazda BT-50 ute.

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